I live in a darling little bungalow on a historic street in a small town. It’s our little piece of heaven. Really. We love it here. This house wasn’t everything we wanted when we bought it. It still isn’t. But our massive lot, our neighborhood, and our neighbors who have become our family, make for a place we never want to leave. Our house has a revolving door of people…friends, family, neighbors, kids- we have lots of playdates and plenty of neighborhood gatherings. It’s a home you feel welcomed to, a warm and inviting place.
When you walk in our front door from the porch, you always enter a nice sized living room, . Simple furnishings, lots of family photos, welcoming you in. Our living room is always tidy. Always neat. This is the room that maintains its organization pretty much all the time. But….it could just be the calm before the storm…
Its 4PM. I just got snack for the kids and put them in front of Wild Kratt’s- the greatest show on Television for kids. They only get a half hour of tv a day and if you want to put your kid in front of the tv at all, this is the show! Anyway, I digress….this half hour becomes MY TIME!
My time to pull my shit together. No other way to put it. I spend the half hour each day while the kids watch their show running, sometimes literally, through the house picking up the pieces of my day. Its not my kids messes- its mine. See, I have a problem. I can admit it. You must first come to terms with your problems before you can work on them. I’m MESSY!
Brian likes to call it more of a tornado effect, I enter a room-destroy it- and leave quickly. I don’t know how it happened and I don’t know why I’m unable to get control of this “problem”.
I take my clothes off to get changed in the morning or at night. I drop my clothes to the ground. And leave them there, instead of putting them in the hamper that is only 10 steps away. I know I’m the only one who is going to pick it up. I just choose to pick it up later, not now.
I enter the kitchen to begin preparing a meal. I open numerous cupboards to get items out. I leave the cupboards open. Why? Who knows. It only takes ONE SECOND to close that door, but I don’t.
I’m working at the computer. I have a few papers I’m working through while I work. I begin to make little piles on the floor all around my computer chair, one of them even being a trash pile. When its time to get up- the piles remain. Left perfectly in a semi-circle around my chair. It could be hours or days before I pick up those piles.
People like me, who are challenged in this area struggle. I mean, I think they do. I really have no idea if anyone else is like me. But I must think they are, right? Its tough. Especially as a mom- I know I’m making things worse only for myself. I realize I’m creating more work for myself.
Oh, I’m also really scatterbrained. Not sure if it’s a Katie thing or a mom thing or a woman thing but when its that 4PM clean up time or a real cleaning day, I can’t stay focused. I could start to close the cupboards and then realize I need to switch loads of laundry. While in the basement, I might check my email and then see that Amara’s Polly Pockets are all over the floor and need to not only be put away, but organized. When I’m done with that I go up stairs with a clean load of laundry and realize I need to put the casserole in. I head to the kitchen, put the casserole in and hear my son asking for me to read with him. I sit down and read and my daughter then asks for a drink. I head to the kitchen and see my destruction…a messy kitchen from getting dinner started AND THE OPENED CUPBOARDS! Darn it! I couldn’t even get the very first task I went to complete accomplished. Sigh. Welcome to my world.
You know that first room I described at the beginning? It really is always tidy. We don’t “live” in our living room and therefore, I’m able to keep it fairly clean. We read books a lot in this room, we talk here. We pass through in dozens of times a day. I look at it all the time. I love that room. Its always picked up, simple and organized. Sometimes, I think of it as my “Hope” room. The room I wish someday all my others could be.
In reality though, the other rooms are pretty great too-even when they are messy. The house is only about 20-30 minutes away at any time from being tidy again. Not CLEAN, but tidy. Most of the furnishings in my home are second hand, passed down from family members or purchased at garage sales. I love that. They are usually worn but not to a throw away state, more a much loved one. There are hundreds of pictures on the walls or tables, showing the love for our family and friends. The TV is seldom on. You can often hear children engaged in imaginary play or reading a book. There could be something baking in the oven, smelling sweet at any time. A craft project or creation spread out on the table or floor.
For my super tidy husband who was raised in a very clean and organized home, my scatterbrained messy world can be frustrating. But he handles it well. He knows I’m aware. He knows I try. He also knows that my own “issues” are most frustrating to myself. There are days that its 8PM and I’ve just gotten the kids down to sleep and wiped off the counters and turned off lights so I can spend just a few minutes zoned out in front of the TV before I fall asleep and I realize my house looks the exact same as it did this morning when I woke up. I feel like I worked my tail off all day long and all I did was maintain, even my 4PM mad pickup time didn’t get me ahead. That’s exhausting. Its deflating. But- its my life.
My home is lived in. Its comfy. There may be a layer of dust on the tops of the furniture but the kid actively involved in a pile of beads on the floor or the one designing a space ship at the table don’t seem to notice. The kitchen, with all the cupboards open is tiny but its full of the smells of the wholesome meal our family will eat together in just a few minutes when Brian gets home from work. There are piles of laundry ready to be put away on the bed, a partially completed project on the to do list for tonight, waiting. A to do list that’s never ended, placed on the counter in the kitchen.
But when Brian comes home and has just met a neighbor in the yard and they’ve decided tonight would be a good night to get the neighbors together to share a meal instead of being by ourselves, nothing else matters- we pack up that casserole and throw a bag of carrots and some dip on a tray and head to the neighbors to be with those we love. OR- we open our doors. We put up a card table, kick the beads on the floor to the side and make room for more. Because, at the end of the day, that laundry will still be there. The project will still be incomplete. The dust will have settled on top of our tables. But our kids are happy. Our hearts are filled. Our priorities are just right.
Our home isn’t perfect. Neither are our lives. If you come over and catch my house, not in storm mode but rather in clean mode- consider yourself lucky. If you come in and those cupboards are open, grab yourself a glass of something to drink and then close the cupboard behind you. See, I’m more concerned about the relationships in my life I’m trying to nurture, not the home I’m trying to impress you with.
This scatterbrained, messy Mama wants you to know you are always welcome here.
We always hope you feel at home in our little piece of heaven!
PS. If you want a real look inside a day in the life….check out the blog post from February 27, 2010. Almost three years ago and I was saying the same things then as I’m admitting to you now. PLUS, you get to see pictures of a filthy kitchen and video too! Check it out HERE! Enjoy!